Davenport mail carriers bitten by dogs speak out and ask people to secure their pets

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) -- Three Davenport mail carriers are speaking out after being bitten by dogs in three different neighborhoods all within ten days. As a result, some in those areas are no longer getting mail delivery.

Ryan Erling loves his job as a mail carrier in the City of Davenport. He’s been serving the community for nearly six years now and he knows there're dangers that come with the job. Such as being attacked by a dog.

“Pretty much any dog out, you always have to be very aware and kind of more less looking at it to make sure,” said Erling, a mail carrier.

Just this month, while he was out on his route. A dog bit him on the leg.

“I’ve been chased a few different times. This is the first time I’ve had any sort of serious bites,” said Erling.

It’s been several weeks but he's working through the pain. Over at the main Downtown office, two of his coworkers are nursing similar injuries and aren't able to work their route.

“I’ve been bitten six times,” said Debbie Thurnass, a mail carrier for 21 years.

“This is actually my second dog bite. This has been my worse one,” said Ralinda Colvin, a mail carrier for six years.

However, these men and women aren't alone. Every single person standing in line has been attacked or chased by a dog while working.

“The worst pain I’ve ever had in my whole life and I still have it today,” said Thurnass.

The postmaster says enough is enough.

“What we are doing now, we are going to stop delivery, said Anthony Harris, a Postmaster. “I’m not going to risk any more of my carriers being injured because people won't police their dogs,”

The carriers say they just want to do their job.

“It's not just for our safety, it's for the safety of other delivery personnel as well as people in the community,” said David Irmen, a safety ambassador for the post office.

However, they need the community's help.

“I don't blame the dogs at all, they're just being dogs,” said Erling.

“All I’m asking is the community to take care of your animals, to police them, to keep them secured,” said Harris.

So that each one of these people can safely go back home each night, to their families.

Deliveries are still not being made to the 2000 block of Linwood, 1900 block of Lincoln, 2400 block of Pleasant, 21-2200 block of Farnam and 2700 block of Telegraph. The post office is looking at adding a neighborhood delivery collection box unit. They understand this is an isolated incident and the rest of the block should not have to face the consequences.

However, Harris says the issue is the dogs are still loose in these neighborhoods and they can't afford to take any chances.
A spokesperson with the post office says last year more than 5,700 postal carriers were attacked by dogs nationwide with over 100 in our district alone.

The Postal Service offers the following safety tips:
• When a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate glass windows to attack visitors.
• Parents should remind children and other family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet. The dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.
• If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office or another facility until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s Post Office.